Click the above video to watch reporter Bill Lynch get a little, well, missplaced in the corn maze.
MILTON, W.Va. -- There's a certain amount of good-natured menace in Kim Cooper's smile when he says he's seen the cornstalks of his corn maze in Milton reach higher than 11 feet.
"It's all dependent on the weather," he said. "Any time you do something farm-related, you have to rely on Mother Nature."
The current crop is, maybe, only 9 feet high, so it's still hard to see over the corn stalks. And once you're deep in the twisting, confounding bowels of the maze, there's not much above them except the sky and a line of trees.
For the past 10 years, Cooper has been running "The Maize" at his farm down the road from the old middle school. The corn maze is open from the middle of September until Halloween - weather permitting.
The Milton corn maze is part of a national franchise owned by "The Maize," a design and consulting firm that helps farmers like Cooper turn their corn fields into perplexing planted puzzles.
Cooper, who is also the principal at Milton Elementary and Pre-K, got into the corn-maze business while working with youths at his local church.
"We could take them roller skating or ice-skating, but we were really limited on what we could do with them," he said.
He read about a corn maze in Farm magazine, phoned someone with a maze in Tennessee, checked it out, and decided to go into business. He provides the acreage, about 8 acres, and the general design, which changes year to year.
This year's maze features a coal miner with pickaxe inside the design as a salute to West Virginia's coal miners.
The Maize then comes up with the plan to turn Cooper's cornfield into a whimsical delight for some and an exercise in futility and frustration for others.
"We try to work on precision," Cooper said. "There's just one way in and one way out. We've also got 10 decision points."
Cooper calls them "cornundrums," where maze crawlers are given specific choices to go either left or right. They let participants gauge how far along they've come and give them a set point to fall back to if they get turned around.
Without them, some might have to be found by a search party.
Before entering the maze, Cooper also offers little quiz sheets, each with 10 questions and available in a variety of topics. The questions correspond with the decision points. Correct answers offer clues on which way to go from there.